Sep 14, 2020

This week’s CHAMPions are the three Navajo area Indian Health Service (IHS) federally operated hospitals, Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility (CCHCF), Northern Navajo Medical Center (NNMC) Shiprock, and Gallup Indian Medical Center (GIMC). All three have been successfully re-designated as Baby-Friendly hospitals.

The Baby-Friendly re-designation process requires data collection, monitoring of practices, and quality improvement activities that are vital to ensuring the Baby-Friendly standards are maintained. These facilities have successfully demonstrated an ongoing commitment to delivering the best standard of maternity care. CHAMPS team members were proud to be involved with the sites’ original designation in 2012.

Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility, Chinle AZ

CCHCF is a 60 bed hospital which serves as the healthcare hub for the Northeast Arizona region. Chinle’s maternity department oversees an average of 550 births per year and the facility became the 9th IHS hospital to be designated Baby-Friendly in May 2014. They have since continued to provide exceptional maternity services to their patients and were able to achieve re-designation in 2019 through 2024.

Gallup Indian Medical Center, Gallup NM

GIMC is a 99-bed hospital, located on the border of the Navajo reservation in Gallup, New Mexico. The hospital has one of the largest patient loads in the Indian Health Service, with 250,000 outpatient and 5,800 inpatient admissions per year. Their maternity staff attend about 650 births per year. GIMC was first designated Baby-Friendly in November 2014 and have since become re-designated in 2019 through 2024.

Northern Navajo Medical Center, Shiprock NM

Located at the meeting point of New Mexico with Arizona, Colorado, and Utah, NMMC caters to approximately 80,837 Native Americans. The medical center has an impatient load of 29 per day and the outpatient volume averages 600 per day. NNMC’s maternity team facilitates up to 550 births per year. The women’s health department first received designation in October 2014 and have since become re-designated in 2019 through 2024.

Congratulations to Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility, Northern Navajo Medical Center Shiprock, and Gallup Indian Medical Center! Thank you for your diligence and commitment to ensuring quality maternity care for your patients.


  1. Karol S, Tah T, Kenon C, et al. Bringing Baby-Friendly to the Indian Health Service: A Systemwide Approach to Implementation. J Hum Lact. 2016;32(2):369-372.
  2. Merewood A. Baby-Friendly and the Indian Health Service: a new standard of care. J Hum Lact. >2015;31(2):207-208.